Much opportunistic literature has been churned out on the emergence of Bangla Desh. Disappointingly, published material of relevance to a combatman or a keen student of military history has been restricted to some broad brushwork by people who were not quite near the scene of action, and written with the purpose of presenting a general over-view.
This is the 50th year of the war that China imposed on India in 1962. Was the war itself and the resulting consequences—the effects of which are still with us, not least, in the form of a ‘trust deficit’ in our relations with China—because of Mao’s ‘martial efficacy’ beliefs in contrast to Nehru’s ‘moral efficacy’ beliefs?
A debut novel, Ayesha Salman’s Blue Dust deserves praise for more than one reason. However, what struck me is its portrayal of complex psychological characters in an equally intricately knit narrative. Salman has written a story which is passionate, painful, psychological and surreal. I must confess it left me emotionally drained but perhaps intellectually enriched.
In the foreword to his novel A Life Incomplete the legendary Punjabi author Nanak Singh narrates the story of the very conception of his novel and interestingly, he calls the foreword ‘More Fact than Foreword’. To me this story is actually a masterstroke of the story teller’s fictional strategy:
The birth of the Tamil Book, if it indeed can be narrated, it is here and comprehensively done at that, by Venkata-chalapathy. Backed by meticulous research, at times with finer details verging on the fastidious, the writer has done a yeoman service to the world of the Tamil word.
Writing Memoirs is not an easy undertaking, especially for one who is well past 80 when human faculties become frail, the will falters and memory fades. Layers over layers of experience stored in the consciousness get dusty and vague, emotions overtake rationality and a realistic reading of one’s own past becomes difficult.
The year 2012 marks the 25th year of the induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka. The book under review is, therefore, timely. It is simplistic to say that My Days in Sri Lanka is a narration of events of Lakhan Mehrotra’s 14 month tenure as India’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka.